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OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators three smallest players made th

 
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OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators three smallest players made th
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OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators three smallest players made the biggest impact in training camp and were rewarded for their efforts with roster spots. The trio of Cory Conacher, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Stephane Da Costa took advantage of a day off Monday to enjoy the news before returning their focus to the hard work that lies ahead. Da Costas performance was perhaps the biggest surprise. The 24-year-old centre seemed to fall out of favour with the Senators last season and was told to commit to his summer training regimen and be willing to make some adjustments. He took the advice and spent the summer in Poland training with his older brother Teddy, who is currently playing in Finland. "I knew what they were saying and I took it seriously," said Da Costa. "Im not the biggest player physically so I knew I had to work on that and I tried to focus on my defensive play." While he spent much of the pre-season centring the teams top line as Jason Spezza recovered from a mild groin sprain, Da Costa found himself on a line between Zack Smith and Chris Neil at Tuesdays practice. "Hes a player that plays with speed and some tenacity and hes got good skill level," said head coach Paul MacLean. "He was good in the faceoff circle so we expect him to do the same things. The expectation is that hell continue to play well and should be able to create more opportunities for those guys to maybe have an opportunity to score." Conacher had been one of four players being considered to play on the left wing on the second line with Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris, but he was easily the most consistent of all. The trio seemed to generate some early chemistry. "Theyre two guys who are pretty easy to play with," said Conacher. "I just want to try and create space for them because theyre two guys who are really good with the puck. As long as Im being a little bit of a pest in the (offensive) zone that will create a little bit more room for them." At five foot eight, Conacher is the Senators smallest player and hes also diabetic, but he wont let his size or his illness define his career. He refuses to allow anything to be used as an excuse should his play begin to slide. "Theres so much competition so you cant be too comfortable," said Conacher. "I have to show that Im willing to get better every day and it starts off by the things I eat and how I track my diabetes. "I think I worked a lot this summer to be more focused and more reliable on the ice to allow the coach to put me on the ice with two minutes left in the game rather than sit me on the bench." After an impressive start to his pro career last season -- which featured a playoff hat trick -- many wondered if Jean-Gabriel Pageau would be able to thrive under the high expectations. Pageau, 20, participated in the teams summer development camp and was strong at the rookie tournament. He earned regular praise from MacLean through the pre-season. "Its a great feeling (to be here)," said Pageau. "But even today I dont want to take anything for granted. I know theres always players pushing to come back here, but Im ready to do all the sacrifices to stay with the big team." As the teams youngest player, Pageau isnt afraid to take advice from his older and more experienced teammates. He also believes last years experience allowed him to come into camp with more confidence. "It helped me be more comfortable both on and off the ice," admitted Pageau. "I think when youre more comfortable you can play your real game. You dont have to think between every play you can just go and play like you can play." While all three players will face different challenges, the one thing the Senators will be looking for is a consistent effort. "As young players the hardest thing to find in the league is consistency," said MacLean. "At some point and time someone or all three could struggle with that, but at this point theyve been probably the most consistent players from the start of training camp to the end of training camp and as a result theyre here to start the season." Notes: Spezza has been sidelined by a mild groin sprain was able to take part in a full practice Tuesday and believes progress has been made. "It seemed to hold up pretty good," said Spezza. "I got through a whole practice and it felt pretty good. There was some hard skating." Spezza doesnt anticipate any more setbacks and is looking forward to Ottawas season opener at Buffalo on Friday. Ian Cole Avalanche Jersey . Numbers Game looks into the Wild getting Matt Moulson from Buffalo. The Wild Get: LW Matt Moulson and LW Cody McCormick. Erik Johnson Avalanche Jersey . 22. Wade averaged 26.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals while leading the Heat to a 3-0 record. The 31-year-old shot 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range en route to his 17th weekly honor. http://www.hockeyavalanche.com/authentic-rene-robert-avalanche-jersey/ . But qualifying for her first Scotties Tournament of Hearts after years of falling short in tough Manitoba provincial championships is as good as consolation prizes get for the 29-year-old from Winnipegs Fort Rouge Curling Club. Lanny McDonald Jersey .com) - On a night the Bulls played without Derrick Rose, it was time for Pau Gasol to take charge. Gabriel Landeskog Avalanche Jersey . According to the Globe and Mail, a decision between the NHL and the Players Association should come within the six months. "I can tell you, (a decision) shouldnt take all that long," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Globe and Mail.FRANKFURT, Germany -- Paderborn won promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time by beating Aalen 2-1 on Sunday, while Greuther Fuerth will play Hamburger SV in a playoff for a place in the top tier. Greuther Fuerth was relegated from the Bundesliga at the end of last season but now has a chance to return if it prevails over two legs against Hamburg, which finished third from bottom in the Bundesliga. Greuther Fuerth won 2-0 against Sandhausen on the final day of the season to finish third in the second division. Nuremberg and Eintracht Braunschweig were relegated from the Bundesligga on Saturday.dddddddddddd Cologne, already assured of finishing top of the second division, lost 2-0 at FSV Frankfurt. Energie Cottbus and Dynamo Dresden were relegated to the third division. Dresden lost at home 3-2 to Arminia Bielefeld, which clinched a playoff berth. The match was interrupted for about 15 minutes in the 65th minute when flares, firecrackers and smoke bombs landed on the pitch as Bielefeld led 2-0. Dresden scored two quick goals after the interruption but Bielefeld notched the winner in the 76th and will now play against Darmstadt in the playoff. ' ' '
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